Feeling Strangely Scientific

I caught this the other day.

So let me get this straight: a virus transmitted almost exclusively by being expectorated into the air by infected people coughing, is spread less by people who aren’t coughing as much?

What manner of sorcery is this?

Yet again, science seems to be bearing out my knee-jerk assumptions, by the way.

“Protection“

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I was all set to buy tickets to see “A Christmas Carol” at the Guthrie this December. Oops, not going. Mask plus vaccine required.

Well, there’s about three hundred bucks back in my pocket. Too bad about the actors, stage hands, musicians, restaurant staff, bartenders and parking lot attendants who won’t be getting paid from my ticket price. Maybe some big corporate donors will pony up to take care of all the little people who are being protected into the poorhouse?

Joe Doakes

See how bad the state fair is doing this year? I’m going to go out on a short, sturdy limb and say the people saying home from the fair are largely “Karens“ from the metro area (domestic Karen’s, not the ones from Southeast Asia)

At least the fair caters to some people from out of state. The Guthrie is largely in Metro Orleans, which these days means largely a audience of Karens.

Whatever the feelings, or economics, of all of the Guthries workers, the Guthrie is definitely playing to its primary market.

The Guthrie will find donors to get by. Of course, those donations will be money that won’t go to some other place that direly needs it as well.

Cross-Cultural

Re draconian restrictions with a goal to “eradicate Covid with zero cases and fatalities”:

How long can this last? If it was up to the drunk-on-power politicians and bureaucrats who have found a winning electoral formula, health experts who have found relevance, and the deathly scared who have found a sense of safety (and, for some at least, the frisson of being a part of something big and important), the answer is “forever.” 

It was written about Australia, where celebrity bureaucrats, power-drunk petty authorities and Big Karen have teamed up to create a post-freedom state (which, honesty, I expected to see in the UK, France and Germany long before Australia).

But it applies to Minnesota as well. As we may well be finding out the hard way, when (as I suspect) Governor Walz spins up another “state of emergency”.

Armageddon Deferred: Karen Hardest Hit

For the second straight year, Big Media, serving as the exposed id of Big Karen, has predicted the Sturgis motorcycle rally was going to be a “super spreader”.

And as the event – and the attendant Covid surveillance – unrolled, I started getting the impression that most of the “news” coverage had been written in advance, with blanks let open to fill in the numbers that, one suspects, were expected to be in the thousands, at the very least.

So when the first take on numbers came out – in the low 100s, across 700,000 attendees – my first response was “that’s probably lower than the infection rate of 700,000 people in the general population”.

I was right:

Before its Aug. 6 opening, the Washington Post ominously warned: “Sturgis Motorcycle Rally revs up, drawing thousands and heightening delta super spreader fears”; CBS blared:“Sturgis motorcycle rally sparks fears of super spreader event.”

But like last August, the derisive press thankfully didn’t get their wish. Two weeks after the gathering with more than a half-million attendees concluded, fewer than 200 cases have been attributed to the event.

The Associated Press still breathlessly reported Sunday that “nearly 4,000 people have been newly diagnosed with COVID-19 in the state,” but later noted that “a South Dakota Department of Health spokesman declined to link the Sturgis rally to the rising virus surge, noting only 39 COVID-19 cases directly attributed to the rally.”

That such a small number of statewide cases came from Sturgis is a miracle and should have been the headline.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Times, whose writers likely could not find South Dakota on a map, claimed “scores of coronavirus cases recorded.” Scores? How many, and compared to what?

So, as always, what does that mean, per capita?

If numbers still matter to agenda seekers, the entire U.S. averaged 276 new COVID cases per 100,000 people over 10 days ending last week, while the Mount Rushmore State averaged only 156.

In the meantime, Florida’s vaccination rates for the elderly are far better than California and New York, and the fatality rate among a very dense, rather old population, is well down in the middle of the pack.

The Democrats and media (ptr) are going to have to count on their voters legendary lack of facility at critical thought.

And the slant in Covid coverage from the MSM is a sign that Big Left is genuinely worried about DeSantis, Noem and the movements they represent.

Hesitancy

Joe Doakes from Como park emails:

Man drops dead half an hour after receiving the ‘vaccine.’ Doctors are puzzled, no idea what killed him. Couldn’t have been the ‘vaccine’ because as everyone knows, the ‘vaccine’ is safe.

This is what causes ‘vaccine hesitancy.’ Obviously, the vaccine killed him. We know there are adverse reactions, side effects, there’s tons of reports from around the world. Say so. Just say, “It looks like one of the rare adverse reactions, one in a million, simply bad luck; but we won’t know for sure until the autopsy.” Doctors pretending it’s all a great mystery when it’s obviously not, casts doubt on their veracity if not their acumen.

It’s like police officers saying, “Yes, the bearded Arabic man was screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ when he attacked the Jews with his machete, but the bearded man did not have an ISIS membership card in his wallet so it can’t be a case of Islamic terrorism. His motivation may never be known.” Nonsense, we all know what happened.

Pretending not to know what happened makes the authorities look incompetent.

Lying about what happened makes them look evil.

I was hesitant about taking a vaccine being recommended by incompetent people. I’m definitely not taking a vaccine being pushed by evil people.

Joe Doakes

When it comes to messaging the general population, about Covid or vaccines, both administrations have done a visible job messaging the public

“The authorities“ have done literally nothing right, that’s far.

The Ultimate “White Privilege”

Judging by the California Democrats at this fundraiser (which was dredging up money for, among many others, Angie Craig), that privilege is…:

…having a visible face.

These are the hamsters demanding mask mandates.

I’ll believe in the efficacy of masks when the people demanding I “believe” in masks act like they believe in masks.

Towards Solutions

SCENE: Mitch BERG is sitting on his bike, waiting at a stoplight on northbound Hamline at County Road B. As he’s fishing his water bottle out of its holder, he doesn’t notice Avery LIBRELLE, riding an absurdly complex-looking recumbent bike, riding up from behind.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Aaaaah, sssshhhhhhure is a nice morning…

LIBRELLE: We need to deny healthcare to those who don’t get vaccines, so that the care goes to the more deserving.

BERG: You support single-payer healthcare, right?

LIBRELLE: Yes. It’s the only moral choice.

BERG: Huh. So – were you one of those those guy…er, gal…er, people who say “healthcare is a right”?

LIBRELLE: Absolutely! It is a human right, same as voting and housing and food!

BERG: Uh…OK. So – healthcare is a right – but rights can’t be legitimately taken away for anything but criminal behavior, and then only via some sort of due process. So – maintaining agency over one’s own body is criminal behavior?

LIBRELLE: Yes!

BERG: A future, hypothetical, ultra-pro-life administration will be glad to hear that.

LIBRELLE: Yeah…hey….

BERG: And since you called single-payer a moral choice – what’s moral about removing a person’s ability to say “Hey, I made a mistake, Vitamin D alone isn’t enough to counter my obesity and diabetes, where can I get some help, here?”

LIBRELLE: It’s too late! Hahahahahahahaha! Stupid Trumpkins!

BERG: Speaking of that – the two single biggest groups of voluntarily-unvaccinated are…

LIBRELLE: Stupid Trumpies and ultra-stupid Trumpies!

BERG: Well, no. People under thirty, and black males from 20-40. Young people because the messaging is so schizophrenic, and black males because the messaging is schjizophrenic and because of the medical industry’s history of using blacks as human test animals.

LIBRELLE: Oh, we’ve got people whose job that is.

(Light turns green. LIBRELLE abruptly accelerates away)

BERG: Of course you do.

And SCENE

Tipping?

A friend of the blog emals:

I

I’m at the Vikings game tonight.

Almost no one wearing a mask.

Lots of Hennepin county law enforcement on hand.

I have to suspect the deputies are just as sick of Karen as everyone else is.

Statistics Help Needed

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I ran across a colorful graph but I’m having trouble understanding it, as I’m not a World Class Expert In Everything like some of our commenters, but merely an old country lawyer trying to make sense of it all.

This graph seems to tell me that Americans in general have a 1 in 10 chance of testing positive for Covid but only 1 in 600 chance of dying from it. And, of course, the risk of dying is skewed heavily toward the frail elderly, so my odds are even better – let’s say 1 in 1,000. That’s nowhere near the top of the list.

Why do I need the vaccine?

Why does the government need to FORCE me to take the vaccine?

Joe Doakes

Do you have questions, and the only answers seems to be “shut off or get cut up“

Passports

Joe Doakes from Como park emails:

Here’s New York’s vaccine passport plan. Governor Walz is a New York wanna-be; his will follow shortly, no doubt.

Normally, I’d say “Who cares? I don’t go to any of those places,” except for the fact Hy Vee has in-store dining and I will need groceries. Delivery? Oh no, you can bet every delivery service will refuse to serve customers who lack a vaccine passport. They’re private businesses, they can do whatever they want.

Dang it, I should have listened to the preppers.

Joe Doakes

The divide between sane America and crazy America is getting bigger and bigger.

I’ll Stipulate In Advance…

…that actual science is about skepticism, about diligently questioning one’s assumptions, about relentlessly searching for the facts on either side of them, pro or con.

All of that being said?

I’m astounded at how many of my knee-jerk responses to Covid turned out to be scientifically valid.

Natural immunity is significant and long-lasting.

The virus is spread via the air – not surface contact.

And the latest among them? The J&J vaccine appears, despite some early hysteria from the US government, to be the better bet against Delta – in addition to its initial sales pitch, it’s efficacy against hospitalization and serious symptoms (which, having reason to believe that natural immunity was itself a serious hedge against infection, was my biggest goal), appears to be better at allaying the Delta Variant than Moderna or Pfizer.

It’s not quite a Berg’s Law, but it’s getting there.

The New Conspiracy

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There is a new wide-eyed, pants-on-head, bat-s**t crazy, right-wing, Trump-inspired, anti-vaccine conspiracy theory going around. Don’t fall for it.
The claim is the vaccine does not prevent people from catching Covid and does not prevent them from spreading it; therefore, the vaccine is useless as a preventative and universal vaccine mandates are unnecessary at best (ignoring side effects) and potentially harmful to some (considering side effects).
The claim is supposedly supported by a study which is not peer reviewed, did not appear in any major medical journal and was only reported on one website. Few, if any, mainstream media have covered the story.
Don’t be fooled. The entity which conducted the study and published the results has a history of making unsupported claims, errors of judgment and reversing its advice.
The study, performed by the Centers for Disease Control and announced in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, as reported by CNBC, confirms what I’ve been saying all along. Either it’s wrong or I’m right.
What a terrible dilemma for the trolls.
Joe Doakes

That’s the thing about being a troll. There really are no terrible dilemmas.

“Science”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

New CDC guidelines on masks.  We’re told it’s necessary because we must follow the SCIENCE.  Let’s review how we got here:

In March of 2020, when the Covid panic really took hold, there weren’t enough test kits specific for Covid.  States were told to count all deaths from respiratory illness (pneumonia, influenza, emphysema) as Covid deaths even without a test.  And Congress passed the CARES act, which gave hospital administrators a financial incentive to over-count Covid cases to receive the 20% higher reimbursement rate.  The number of deaths attributed to Covid shot up, giving rise to fears of a Surge which would overwhelm hospitals and morgues.  It never arrived.  The refrigerated warehouse sits empty.

House arrest, mask mandate and social distancing were imposed by Governor Walz with vague references to “science” but no scientific studies were cited to support the measures.  The Peacetime Emergency remains in effect.  Governor Walz retains the authority to ‘adjust the dials’ governing every aspect of life, at whim.

In July, the FTC approved RT-PCR test kits.  Reported case numbers skyrocketed as more people tested positive but hospital admissions for confirmed cases of Covid did not.  Instead, the graph of Covid resembled the graph of seasonal influenza – peaks in winter, gone in summer.  The national charts of Covid cases versus mask mandates show mask mandates made no difference to Covid cases.

By the election, President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed had delivered results but mask mandates, social distancing and lock-downs remained in place as case numbers rose (following the same graph as seasonal influenza).  Thanksgiving was cancelled. Christmas was moved outdoors.  No studies were provided to support the orders. In December, the FDA issued emergency approval of Covid vaccines.  It also withdrew its request for emergency approval of the RT-PCR test which some critics had said resulted inover-counting of cases to artificially inflate the numbers to justify extreme measures.

On April 14, 2021, Governor Walz extended his restrictions again but on April 29 he ended many of them.  No new scientific studies were cited to support the change.  Covid case numbers continued to fall, following the pattern of seasonal influenza.

On May 1, 2021, the CDC stopped counting ‘breakthrough’ cases of Covid among vaccinated persons The obvious result is Covid cases are only counted among un-vaccinated persons, which gives rise to claims that the vaccine is working when the truth is we have no numbers to support that claim because we stopped collecting those numbers. 

The change is significant because it makes a year-to-year comparison impossible.  In 2020, millions of Covid cases were reported but was that because there were millions of infected persons or millions of false positives?  In 2021, far fewer Covid cases will be reported but is that because the vaccine works or because we no longer count Covid cases in vaccinated persons, making them the statistical equivalent of false negatives?  And where are the scientific studies which justify mask mandates, social distancing and distance learning?  Where is the SCIENCE?

It’s difficult to make public policy recommendations when the severity of the threat is unknown because the numbers are unreliable but as far as I can tell, the new CDC mask mandates make no sense and are not supported by any scientific justification.  The verifiable evidence supports the conclusion that Covid is a bad flu and should be treated like one – quarantine the sick, liberate the healthy.  The best Covid site on the web is Healthy Skeptic.  This post from last April is a good summary.

Joe Doakes

If only there were a group – in or out of government – devoted to providing Americans (and their policymakers) reliable, unvarnished, unpoliticized information.

But I dream.

Just So We’re Clear On This

I’m far from “Anti-Vax”. I got the J&J vaccine – partly to shut Karen up, and partly because the science that exists convinced me it was worth the fairly minimal risk.

But there are times I wish this country had a national organization, one dedicated to disseminating unvarnished, unbiased, scientific information about public health to the public.

But I dream.

If we did have such an organization – and a news media that actually reported facts rather than emotions and political narrative…

…again, I dream.

By the way, I commend for your attention this 8-10 tweet thread on the latest science re the immunity provided by both natural and vaccine-based immunity. The news is largely if not uniquivically good…

…and you’ll hear little to none of it from our useless media.

I bring that up to arm you all for the upcoming fight – with the CDC sending out trial balloons about renewed mask mandates, and bobblheads like Gavin Newsom actively locking things down again. And if Newsom is talking about it, you know Tim Walz is fantasizing about reliving his Mussolini days, too.

Now, for me it’s an emergency, no matter what our idiot bureaucracy says; I have parents in their 80s in about the health one might expect of people in their eighties, so I take the precautions needed, either way.

But as the inevitable tsunami of Karens who believe one “believes” science, and whose idea of “science” is an NPR piece from April 2020, by a morose millennial reporter living in an apartment in Brooklyn venting their personal depression in the form of a “news” piece about how awful things are, I urge you to keep an eye on the actual science:

Because this time, there can be no deferring to the good will of the participants, like most of us did in the spring of 2020.

This isn’t public health,. This is a social power grab. Nothing more. .

They Don’t Just Super-Spread Social Toxicity Anymore

After 18 months of warning about “superspreaders” that never panned out, Democrats – in this case, the Texas Fleebaggers – finally put their money where their gaping, unmasked-on-airplanes mouths are:

On Tuesday, Axios reported that an aide to the speaker and a White House official tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a rooftop reception to honor the fugitive lawmakers. Both individuals were fully vaccinated, although a White House official downplayed the staffer’s illness.

“Yesterday, a fully-vaccinated senior spokesperson in the Speaker’s press office tested positive for COVID after contact with members of the Texas state legislature last week,” said Drew Hammier, deputy chief of staff to Pelosi.

The group of 50 Texas Democrats flouted federal regulations implemented by President Biden that require passengers on privately charted planes to wear masks for the duration of a flight. As of publication, no legal action has been taken against them, even though the Centers for Disease Control issued explicit warnings about not wearing masks. The Federal Aviation Administration did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Free Beacon.

Since their arrival in Washington, D.C., six of the Texas Democrats have tested positive for COVID-19. The whereabouts of the Texas Democrats are unknown, and the public does not know how many people they infected during their trip to the nation’s capital. Texas state representative Gene Wu, a prominent member of the group who has shared news articles on Twitter about coronavirus strains entering the country while on the lam, did not respond to a request for comment.

Of course, their mission – gundeck the election reforms via foul means in a way they could never do via fair – remains accomplished.

Call it “divine retribution”.

Consequences

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats seized upon the Covid virus as a means to terrify voters so they would accept suspending the Constitution and mailed ballots (which are easier to harvest and cheat) allowing Democrats to ‘fortify’ the election to remove Bad Orange Man from office.

But terrifying the American public caused panic worldwide and in a global economy, that’s not risk-free. The First Order Effect of The Big Steal was The Garden Administration but what are the Second and Third Order Effects?

Richard Fernandez fears the international order is breaking down.

Sarah E. Hoyt points out the consequences of the hoax at home and abroad.

Even the UN admits the world hunger has gotten worse.

Democrats loosed War, Disease, Famine and Death in the world to gain political power at home.

Prepare yourselves.

Joe Doakes

The history of leftism is replete with examples of actions taken with no regard for, or blithe acceptances, unintended consequences

Fallout

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Setting off a nuclear bomb does immediate damage, but also blasts radioactive dust into the atmosphere which will eventually settle out of the air causing deaths from radiation poisoning.  The death toll from fall-out can be far greater than the death toll from the blast itself.
Governor Walz’ Executive Orders set off a nuclear bomb on Minnesota last Spring.  The immediate blast destroyed civil liberties – placed the entire state under house arrest, banned religion, speech, assembly, and ordinary employment for all except favored groups – but the fall-out damage has yet to be fully realized. 
A family member fell over July 4th weekend, striking her head.  The Urgency Room doctors in Eagan wanted her admitted to a hospital for observation but there were no rooms available at Regions, United or St. John’s in Maplewood.  She ended up at Woodwinds in Woodbury.  She received excellent treatment and is making a fine recovery but the point is beds.  There are no hospital beds.
It’s not Covid.  It’s fall-out from Covid. Walz banned non-emergency medical treatments to keep hospital beds open for the giant surge of Covid cases which were confidently predicted by the U of M computer model.  Hospitals lost millions of dollars every day as beds sat empty. Marginally profitable facilities were closed to save money.  When Bethesda and St. Joseph’s closed in St. Paul, they took 500 beds off the inventory.  Remember our talk about Second Order effects?  This is one of them.  Prohibit hospitals from making money treating non-Covid patients, hospitals close their doors, all patients go untreated. 
We’re going to see more fall-out.  Unemployment remains high because it’s just as profitable to sit home as go to work.  Evictions and foreclosures are halted now but will explode when the moratorium is lifted, adding to the homeless problem.  Business bankruptcies are already on the rise. 
Was it really worth all this so Democrats could ‘fortify’ the election to get rid of the Bad Orange Man? 
Joe Doakes

“Government is the least effective possible way to manage scarce resources”
— Kevin Williamson

If this past year, especially in re healthcare, hasn’t emphasized this to you, then I question whether any emphasis will ever work.

“Mussolini-Like Power” And “Single-Man Autocratic Rule” Must Not Be Polling Well

Governor Walz’s emergency powers ended last night.

Turns out that to the DFL it was all a bone to be thrown over budget money.

“Our agreement with our federal partners to extend [food assistancce] benefits for Minnesotans, coupled with the thoughtful plan outlined in the House Democrats’ amendment to wind down the emergency response in state government, means that we can close this chapter of our history and celebrate the brighter days ahead,” Walz said in a statement late Tuesday.

Anyone but me having a hard time buying the notion that the Governor moved his plan up a month, on a day’s notice, over some bureaucratic tittle-jotting at the USDA?

My guess – and it is a guess – is that the DFL is starting to see that Covid is eating political capital they can’t waste as they try to get ahead of the urban crime problem they’ve created.

Let Them Eat GrubHub

Andy Slavitt – a stockbroker and political contributor who became a FEMA official under Obama, and a Covid “advisor” to President Harris – says we just don’t know when we’ve got it good.

Is there anything you can say about this Administraiton – no, modern Big Left – that you couldn’t say just as well about an abusive parent or spouse?

No, seriously?

VC Day

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Looking back with a year of experience, it’s clear the COVID crisis in Minnesota is over, if it ever began.

70,000 Minnesotans did not die. There was no surge of cases. Hospitals were not overwhelmed, nor funeral homes: the refrigerated warehouse sits empty.  Holiday revelers did not die in droves, nor Spring Breakers, nor school children.  Active cases are in the 300 range, hospitalizations less than 100, out of a population of 5,000,000.  Covid is still a threat to the frail elderly in nursing homes, but poses no general public health emergency.

Why hasn’t Governor Walz ended the Peacetime Emergency and returned power to the people, as he promised he would?

Joe Doakes

Because it was never about public health.

Well, That Turned Around Fast

Friday Morning: local media cover the bejeebers out of a press conference – the sort of coordinated coverage that screams “a PR flak is working this hard”:

While challenges remain, downtown Minneapolis’ progress toward a post-pandemic revival is picking up steam, according to the panelists who joined a Friday morning online forum hosted by the Minneapolis Downtown Council…“My take on all of this is that you haven’t seen anything yet. Downtown is going to come back stronger and bigger than ever,” said Fhima, who leads the kitchen at Fhima’s Minneapolis.

Still, the panelists said, downtown is currently battling the perception that it’s unsafe — a perception Fhima [1] said was fueled by the lack of foot traffic on downtown streets during the pandemic, when many office workers shifted to working from home and widespread closures of restaurants and venues kept visitors away. Just as an empty restaurant might make diners question the quality of the food, he said, an empty downtown can leave visitors unnerved

“Challenges remain”, indeed.

18 hours after that coordinated burst of manufactured sunshine blowing up the Twin Cities collective nethers:

Two people were killed and 8 wounded in a shooting in downtown Minneapolis, police said early Saturday.

“Preliminary investigation reveals that two people were standing in a crowded area and got into a verbal confrontation,” the Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement.” Both individuals pulled out guns and began shooting at each other.”

Look – I enjoy downtown. I’ve worked there, and 2-3 years ago I used to go down there for concerts fairly regularly – move the Dakota than the First Avenue these days, but whatever. And as a taxpayer, I’ve had a lot of taxpayers money “invested” in it on my behalf, so it’d be nice if the current occupants at the City Council stopped screwing things up.

Not holding my breath, of course.

[1] Have any of Dave Fhima’s restaurants ever succeeded? . I haven’t paid much attention to the restaurant scene, but going back ten years or so, any of his places turned into their own vacant slices of downtown in a year or so.